Ring-A-Ding-Dingle

Our buddy Rick Steves mentions Dingle as a must-see if you’re only in the country for less than a week.  It’s on the West Coast of Ireland so the train took us about 3.5 hours from Dublin.  Dingle was once a sleepy little fishing town but has recently become very popular as a tourist destination- we saw Seahawks and Mariners hats on the tourists so there must have been an especially large number of Seattleites :).

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Chillin’ in Dingle

On that note, Molly had commented on my last blog post that her parents had just been in Dingle on a Rick Steves tour… and with the time difference we figured they might still be there.  So Cale and I checked into the B&B and wandered the streets searching for Ron and Meredith.  We gave up after a while and instead looked for a cheap place to eat (which we soon discovered is nonexistent in Dingle).  So we just decided to go to a place recommended in the guidebook.  We walk in, and lo and behold, Ron and Meredith are sitting right there!!! It was kismet. Or as Meredith says, “we are bonded for life!”

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What a small world!

The Summers’ generously bought us dinner and took us to a show afterwards at the local music shop.  Dingle is known for its music and each pub had live music playing after dinner. There was Irish music wherever we went. They have some unusual instruments here that look extremely complicated to play- one called the Uilleann Pipes – a 7 Reed instrument that some say you must be a bit crazy to learn and perfect. Also we got to see a woman playing a concertina later on- a complicated looking little accordion instrument that can be made to sound like accordion, fiddle, or harmonica!

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‘The Boys’ on the Uilleann Pipes and the fiddle

The next day, after an amazing breakfast of smoked mackerel at our B&B, Cale and I rented bikes and ventured on a little 30 mile bike ride :).  It took some getting used to, since there was no shoulder and you drive on the left side of the road here, but we made it through alive.  The weather was windy and chilly but the views were impressive.  We ended the trip with a much-needed beer at the Dingle Brewery.

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Arrival in Dublin

And we’re off!  As mom drove us to the airport, Cale said: ‘it’s not too late to turn back, you know!” And I answered, “actually, it’s far too late for that!”  I know it’s odd that it feels terrifying to leave Seattle, and people seem to roll their eyes when I say that… but I really felt uneasy to leave when the time came; it was really quite scary to go.  Leaving friends and family for a year, leaping into the unknown- without an income, and being in a different place each night means a whole lot of change all at once, and change is scary! Oh yeah, and we’re leaving Seattle at the most beautiful time of year, there’s that too.

Despite all this, it feels amazing to do something I’ve always dreamed of, and we are incredibly lucky to be able to take this trip. Even with all the unease, I haven’t wanted to turn back.

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Goodbye, Seattle! We Will Miss You!

Dublin has been a fun, walkable city.  We arrived at 8am Ireland time, which is midnight Seattle time so we are still getting over the jet lag.  I was a bit nervous about the two star hotel that I booked but it has been great :). So far, other than walking around the city, visiting the oldest pub in Dublin (established in the 1100s), and going for a couple runs we have seen the Book of Kells at Trinity College and the Guinness Factory.

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Dublin at Night

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Oh, that’s just me being super cool.

The Guinness tour was great but felt like propaganda, the way they played up Arthur Guinness.  There was even a quote on the wall saying “Men have tried for years to turn lead into gold.  But Arthur Guinness actually succeeded with his amazing beer.” Or something to that effect.  But you get a free beer at the end and amazing views of the city, and it was all worth it. Fun fact: Guinness buys 2/3s of all the barley grown and harvested in Ireland!

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Gravity Bar, at the top of the Guinness Factory

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To Prove we were There!

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This was the Marketing Section of the Tour. Well, I guess the whole thing was the marketing section…

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First Guinness Ad Ever. Did you know: Guinness is good for you, because it contains carbo-hydrates?

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View from the Factory Bar

Today we are taking the train to Dingle and hope to take in some of the amazing Irish views!